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Until tonight I didn't know fork lightning could dance diagonally across the sky - an evil long poke of energy zigzagging in a gleeful jig of rage

It is 9.53pm precisely.

It is pitch black and the only light comes from this Mac (77 per cent battery life) and a candle in the middle of my table. By my side is a pencil-slim torch, my fags, a lighter and, thank God, a large glass of still frosted white.

An hour and a half ago the lights flashed several times and then gave up.

Fifteen minutes before, the electricity first went off as the boom of thunder/lightning pounded the roof.

When it is instant like that, I'm now savvy enough to check fuse boxes. This time it was the main power button in the cupboard on the sitting room wall, where all power to the house is directed from a pylon thing outside in the garden.

(Surely that isn't a good thing?)

A push of that button brought light again. For a while.

I'm flinching often as I write this because in front of me are the shuttered French doors. There is a small space at the top between the shutters and the glass and every few seconds blue lightning illuminates it.

The thunder is constant so I can't count between it and the lightning to know how far away it is. Hell, I don't need to - it is right over my head.

To my left there's a smallish, uncovered window that looks out on to the covered courtyard where my car sits and wood is piled for the winter.

At the moment there are no flashes, but that's meaningless because storms are sneaky here.

They burl and twirl all around and just when you think they've moved on they slope in sideways and wham, bam, thank you, ma'am - flash, flash, flash. Boom.

My fear of the dark is, I've discovered tonight, marginally more than my fear of these tropical storms that have blighted our so-called summer this year.

While there was still light in the sky I perched myself on the arm of a chair in the hall looking out through a never-shuttered window. Brave, brave, brave.

Until tonight I didn't know that fork lightning could dance diagonally across the sky - an evil long poke of energy zigzagging in a gleeful jig of rage.

Normally, like tonight, it seems to pick its target, smashing into Lavit on my horizon, as perfectly forked as every storm photograph shows.

But then this is the first time I've actually sat and watched. All because I needed light.

When the night came I returned to the glow of my Mac, grateful for its presence even if the greyed-out tones of its internet bar told me I was now off-line, alone, adrift in La France Profonde.

Actually it is amazing how, sort of, calm I am, here in the dark.

My eyes are picking out the familiar outlines of bookcases and paintings; I cannot use sound to block out the imagined noises I twitch at.

I'm finding, so far, there actually aren't any. The dark is less frightening than the light. How strange.

I am seriously hacked off, though, that I've missed double Corrie, EastEnders and a Big Brother double eviction. Seriously miserable about that, which says much about my priorities here.

While I'm writing this I keep doing the odd prayer to ask EDF to sort out the lights; keep closing my eyes and counting to 100 and going: Voila.

It's not working and I can hear the grumbling thunder. Oh, merde, it's not grumbling any more, it's shouting loud.

The window to the side, the slit at the top of the French doors are flashing and smashing and getting louder and louder and closer and closer.

Last week, 10km from me, a house was struck in the last storm. It was destroyed, and the Belgian owners told how the strike danced along their power lines before all went up in a massive firestorm.

They only had time to run outside and save themselves.

A part of me wonders what I'd save if I had a chance. Photographs, family silver, as many books as I could fling out and, really, not much else.

Perhaps my handbag with all the bits and important pieces such as passport, carte vitale, bankcard.

Once I would have said my AmEx card. Once it was the only thing I would have saved.

It's quiet again. I think, hope, the storm has moved away for the moment.

Pause. Look around in the darkness. Get ready to move to bed, Yes, I can do this.

In the distance the storm growls. There are flashes of white again in window and gap. Thunder is pounding nearer and nearer.

Bang. It's over my head. Oh, merde.

I pour another wine. There is nothing left to lose. No lights, no internet. All lost, hours ago.

Fifty four per cent battery life on Mac, lighter has run out of fuel, I have no idea what is happening in the world…

I am about to blow out the candle, switch on the torch and move to the bedroom.

Hopefully I'll speak to you soon. Right, I'm off. It's awfully dark out here. Right ... I'm really off this time.

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